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Monday, August 4, 2008

Back to School -- Why the Arnold's Home School

School starts August 13th around here.  And, yes, my sweet Sammie will begin Kindergarten and we've chosen to teach her at home.

Ten or fifteen years ago, all I knew of homeschooling was that "usually those kids are socially awkward, right?"  Years later, after lots of research and lots of time with children who are schooled at home, I realize the ignorance of that statement.

There are so many resources on-line and in bookstores, magazines and the library that list hundreds of pros and cons of homeschooling.  If you want that list....go there. There is no perfect way, I don't think.  There are pros and cons public school, private school and home schooling.  We believe that home schooling, for now, will give Sammie the best foundation to succeed in life.

This is a brief list about why we have chosen to homeschool Samantha for Kindergarten this year.  (A list not only for my two readers, but as a reminder to me throughout the year.)

Family Priorities
Since all our family is out of town, we'd love to keep our schedules flexible enough to visit when we want to or go help when we need to.  Short and simple reason, but one of the biggies.

Customized Learning
I know everyone thinks their kid is the smartest of all children everywhere.  I truly believe that people are so ignorant about kids in general until they have their own and see them everyday... learning and growing and blossoming before their eyes. (I count myself in that list, for sure.) Well, I don't know about the smartest, but I do think Sam has wonderfully diverse interests for a 5-year old.  At home, we can learn math by trying new recipes in our own kitchen.  We can practice Spanish one on one or by playing customized computer games.  We can learn music by exposing her to dozens of songs a week while she does her chores or sings with me at the piano every day.  She can choose the books that interest her while she practices reading and she can practice writing by making our grocery list or agenda for the day.  I could write about this one for days and will probably blog more in-depth about it throughout the year.

And as a bonus, for as long as Grandaddy is with us and able to read, she'll have daily reading time with him.  PRECIOUS!

Lazy
Sad but true.  I can't imagine loading everyone up twice a day to take her to and from Kindergarten.  I was reminded of this during PDO Summer Session a few weeks ago. You may not believe that would make my top ten list, but it does!

Customized Socialization
We get to choose who she plays with.  Soon enough she'll have to choose for herself who the best influences are, but five is awfully young to ask her to do that on her own for six hours a day, five days a week.  Homeschooling also allows her to be comfortable around people of all ages, learning that adults aren't scary and that siblings are actually her best friends.

Cost 
My brother, sister and I went to a parochial elementary school where respect for people, guidelines and education were foremost. Above all that, though, was a respect for our faith and we were taught how to blend our faith into our every day lives including education. Prayer was a part of every day and we even got to plan and/or participate in services sometimes. I've never asked my folks how much that cost, but we looked into it here and just for Kindergarten it's almost four thousand dollars. FOUR THOUSAND DOLLARS!?!?!? The bottom line is, we're too frugal to pay that much to learn colors and numbers. We'd rather put that money in a college fund.

No Peer Pressure or Falling Behind "Classroom Pace"

Some things Sammie will pick up quickly and some things she won't.  I believe everyone learns at a different pace and homeschooling will allow us to teach her at her own pace. If she needs more time on math, we can give it.  We can be creative about how to make it real to her.  If she breezes through hand writing, then we can move on to cursive more quickly.  I don't want her to be so frustrated in a classroom because they barrel ahead of her or bored because she understood quantum physics years ago.  At home, she can be praised on her own merits and not by comparison to 30 other kids learning at different rates.

It's Sometimes About Me

My mom was right.  I should have gotten a degree in education.  I was pretty selfish and not child-oriented when I was in school, so I thought an education degree was ridiculous.  Now I know how much potential I see in every child...not just my own.  Great teachers are such a huge part in our kids' lives, not only to educate, but to shape character and be mentors for a lifetime. Someday, when my children don't need me every day, I hope to be able to teach in some capacity, so I'm using this as a stepping stone for educating myself as well as my kids.

Joy of Learning
More than anything, my goal for this one year is to instill a joy of learning in Sammie.  I want school to be interesting and challenging and yes, FUN!  If she doesn't get everything on the lesson plans, it really is ok.  It's just Kindergarten.  

The first thing on my lesson plan is to make sure at the end of the year, she can't wait for first grade.  If that happens, I'll give us all an A+.



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1 comment:

  1. How cool that you homeschool too! I loved reading this post. It's so neat to learn your perspective and this reaffirmed my own beliefs about homeschooling as well. You have a precious family!

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